United Kingdom trade minister says European Union ‘irresponsible’ to refuse to reopen Brexit deal

Irving Hamilton
February 4, 2019

Late last month, the MPs voted in favour of an amendment that was tabled by Sir Graham Brady to look for "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop after the MPs turned down the Brexit deal of the Prime Minister by historic margins last January.

Auto giant Nissan announced Sunday it was cancelling plans to build its X-Trail SUV at its plant in northeast England, saying that "the UK's future relationship with the European Union is not helping".

May, writing in The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, shed little light on how she meant to solve the issue that has provoked most opposition from her lawmakers, post-Brexit arrangements for the border between the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the prime minister said she would return to Brussels with a "fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination".

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, but United Kingdom politicians are divided over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

He added that Britain's only path to avoiding a so-called "hard Brexit", in which London exited automatically on March 29 with no transitional arrangements in place to ensure the continued flow of goods, medicines and transport links, was to accept the existing deal.

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"The agreement we negotiated with Britain is already a compromise - especially regarding the arrangements for Northern Ireland", he said.

May will be heading to Brussels following her victory in the House of Commons earlier when MPs, by a majority of 16, backed her European Union withdrawal deal providing she re-negotiates changes to the proposed arrangements over the Northern Ireland border issue.

The move, first reported on Saturday by Sky News, was confirmed by the company in a letter to workers Sunday.

European Union officials have insisted that the deal - rejected by British lawmakers - is not open for renegotiation.

Mr Coveney said the backstop was required to "ensure the protection of the Good Friday Agreement" which ended 30 years of armed struggle in Northern Ireland. She wrote that Now that "the British public wants us to get on and finish the job", and "the vast majority just want MPs to set out a clear plan that will get Brexit through Parliament and allow us to embark upon the next chapter of our national story".

Fox echoed comments by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Thursday that a delay to the March 29 leaving date may be needed in order to get legislation through parliament. "That's what I'd like the most", he told Funke.

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